FYPD Mock Draft: 2023 First-Year Player Draft
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- 2023 Fantasy Top 100 Dynasty Prospects
- 2023 FYPD Rankings: Top 100 For First-Year Player Drafts
Our FYPD Top 100 rankings are the best resource available to guide you through your first-year player draft in your dynasty league.
While our FYPD Top 100 ranking is a collective exercise, we all view and evaluate players through different lenses. We share information, but each of us values players differently. So while we generally agree on who the elite players are in the draft, there are differences of opinions even at the top of the draft, and those contrasting valuations grow larger the deeper down the board we go.
To complement our rankings, we conducted a mock draft as a way to give a better sense of where some of our opinions diverge and to help prepare for how drafts could play out in competitive leagues.
For Baseball America subscribers, you have access to every pick and the reason behind that selection. We also have analysis from each of our writers on the class as a whole, their favorite picks from their own teams, their favorite picks from other rosters and the picks we thought went off the board too soon.
1. Jackson Holliday, SS, Orioles (Carlos Collazo): Holliday is the obvious No. 1 for me considering his draft capital, pro debut and the fact that Druw Jones injured his shoulder and didn't accumulate any professional experience. I still like both Jones and Holliday, but those factors, as well as the positional advantage with Holliday and Baltimore's track record developing hitters makes me happy with this pick.
2. Druw Jones, OF, D-backs (Geoff Pontes): Arguably the top player on many FYPD draft boards, I took the consolation prize for not landing Holliday. Jones is a top-of-the-scale athlete with projection and plus power potential. No reason to overthink it.
3. Kodai Senga, RHP, Mets (Dylan White): NPB veteran will plug into a 2023 lineup and provide fantasy production (to help a win-now team or be traded to a win-now team).
4. Termarr Johnson, 2B, Pirates (Ben Badler): Johnson is the premier high school hitter in the country with the elite bat speed and power that stack up among the best in the class. I see the upside for a 70 hit, 70 power middle infielder.
5. Brooks Lee, SS, Twins (Matt Eddy): The switch-hitting Cal Poly star brings high hit and on-base likelihood with a chance for average power production and a top-third-of-the-lineup spot.
6. Elijah Green, OF, Nationals (CC): I'm more bearish on Masataka Yoshida, who is next on our FYPD board, than the fantasty community seems to be. It's rare to see the sort of industry criticism that the Red Sox endured after his signing and BA's own feedback from scouts makes me wonder where the disconnect is between the amount he signed for and how much the projections love him. It depends on what your team needs, but I would much rather go for a dynamic player like Green here. He could be a superstar.
7. Cam Collier, 3B, Reds (GP): I considered Yoshida, Zach Neto and Cam Collier here and went with the player who seems to have the most helium at the moment. There's something to be said for Yoshida's potential immediate impact, but Collier at the moment likely draws a better return in the trade market than Yoshida, and possibly affords you a better plug-and-play option than Yoshida.
8. Masataka Yoshida, OF, Red Sox (DW): I'm staying in 'win now' mode with this pick. Yoshida is one of the more divisive players between scouts and projection 'systems'. His performance will have a massive impact on what kind of deal players like Munetaka Murakami and Roki Sasaki get.
9. Zach Neto, SS, Angels (BB): Before the draft last year, I wouldn't have been on Neto this high, but what he did in pro ball helped boost his stock with the way he hit in Double-A. Maybe the unconventional swing works for him, or he will at least have more trade value if I want to go that route with my roster.
10. Jett Williams, SS, Mets (ME): Williams plays with a chip on his shoulder because of his smaller frame. He was a favorite of scouts on the showcase circuit for his quick bat, bat-to-ball skill, plus speed and high-energy playing style.
11. Kevin Parada, C, Mets (CC): I thought about going away from the catcher position and taking more tools. A player like Chase DeLauter or Spencer Jones really intrigues me at this spot, but I viewed Kevin Parada as one of the best pure hitters in the 2022 draft and I've been high on his hit tool since about 2018. He's the top player on the board and I think he will stick at catcher. Let's not overcomplicate things.
12. Chase DeLauter, OF, Guardians (GP): When I think about this pick, I think about watching the best pro prospect on the Cape over the summer of 2021. Delauter did it all, hit for average, made strong swing decisions, hit for power, ran plus run times and patrolled the biggest center field in the Cape Cod League. I believe this pick has the upside of a top five player in this class.
13. Spencer Jones, OF, Yankees (DW): I have proximity and production in my first two picks. Now I can go upside and few players can reach the potential ceiling of Jones.
14. Justin Crawford, OF, Phillies (BB): Crawford is an electric athlete with outstanding speed. But I wouldn't be taking him here if I didn't believe in his hitting ability, too. I like what I've seen from his bat control, and I think there's some sneaky power potential for his lanky build.
15. Dalton Rushing, C, Dodgers (ME): Taking the catcher playing-time discount and injury risk makes sense to me in this range of the draft, especially when the catcher hits with the authority that Rushing did in his pro debut. His bat should play at any position.
16. Gavin Cross, OF, Royals (CC): I am starting to think about Dylan Lesko here because I'm super high on his ability. I think his upside is comprable to the top six players in this mock. However, it's hard to justify not just taking a bat like Cross here, who I think would fit on talent and production right alongside the DeLauter/Jones/Crawford trio that's already been taken.
17. Drew Gilbert, OF, Astros (GP): My earlier picks were much more straightforward, but here I had multiple choices. I considered Jung, Hjerpe and Cade Horton, but ultimatley went with the best overall position player still available. Gilbert has at least average bat-to-ball skills, approach and power, with the ability to steal 15+ bases a season while patrolling center field.
18. Jace Jung, 2B, Tigers (DW): Too early to say he comes from successful sibling bloodlines?
19. Cole Young, SS, Mariners (BB): I would have taken Young earlier, but I felt confident he would still be here with this pick (I guess this is the benefit of having so many conversations about players with the people you're competing against in the draft). Young is a polished, hitterish player who has a chance to move quickly and play a premium position. It's hit-over-power now, with more over-the-fence juice that should come in time.
20. Dylan Lesko, RHP, Padres (ME): Based on Lesko's sky-high ceiling and advanced command of three pitches, this feels like an appropriate discount on a high school righthander coming off Tommy John surgery. The Padres don't often miss on prep draftees.
21. Brock Porter, RHP, Rangers (CC): Dang! Matt scooped me on this one. I would have loved getting Lesko in this spot and think he's a great value for No. 20 if you can stomach the lack of proximity and general pitcher risk. There's no obvious player on the board I want to take here, so I will get a similarly talented pitcher in Brock Porter who doesn't have the same injury concerns that Lesko and Cade Horton, my other candidate, have.
22. Cade Horton, RHP, Cubs (GP): If you follow my work on pitching you'll know that I am a stuffist—meaning I like pitchers with great stuff. It's possible to argue Horton has the best combination of stuff and performance among the remaining healthy college pitchers. Coming off of Tommy John surgery early in the season, Horton was up and down, but as the season rolled on Horton established himself as one of the best starters in college baseball by the time the regionals rolled around.
23. Jacob Melton, OF, Astros (DW): Despite not having a classically beautiful hitting setup or swing, plus exit velocities and plus speed are a fantasy friendly cocktail.
24. Brandon Barriera, LHP, Blue Jays (BB): We're outside the range of priority hitters for me, so I'm looking at some of the top pitchers in the draft here. There's a lot to like with Barriera, an athletic lefty who has the stuff to potentially pile up strikeouts with a fastball that can reach the upper 90s and a slider that induces plenty of awkward swings.
25. Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Cardinals (ME): Hjerpe dominated college competition at Oregon State with a best-in-the-nation 33.9 K-BB%. It will be interesting to see how his low slot and secondary pitches play against pro hitters.
26. Sterlin Thompson, OF, Rockies (CC): I was hoping we'd get a bit of a run on pitchers after the Lesko-Porter picks and that leaves me with a few hitters on the board I am excited about in this range. Berry would feel like good value here, but his pro debut wasn't encouraging and it's entirely bat driven value, so how about a hitter like Thompson, who could rack up tons of extra-base hits in Coors one day.
27. Dylan Beavers, OF, Orioles (GP): There's a nice group of hitters in this area. I would have considered Sterlin Thompson, who went a pick before, but I also considered Eric Brown Jr., Jordan Beck, Mikey Romero and Jacob Berry. Ultimatley I went with Beavers, who I view as a potential Orioles breakout. His physical tools and profile fits the Orioles recent success story to a tee.
28. Jacob Berry, 3B, Marlins (DW): Concerns about his debut have led to Berry falling 10 spots. Irresponsible to let recency bias allow his polished bat to fall further.
29. Noah Schultz, LHP, White Sox (BB): A 6-foot-9 lefty with the body control to repeat his delivery and throw strikes, a trending-up fastball that has touched 98 mph and might have more in the tank, along with a slider that can be a swing-and-miss weapon against lefties or righties? I'm way in on Noah Schultz.
30. Eric Brown Jr., SS, Brewers (ME): Brown offers an appealing blend of bat-to-ball ability, plate discipline and speed that feels like good value here. How much power he develops will determine his fantasy utility.
31. Jud Fabian, OF, Orioles (CC): We're now in the range where everyone is pretty similar and there are real questions with most players on the board. I am excited about Fabian's pro debut with the Orioles, and have I mentioned I like Baltimore's hitting development? This is a perfect organization to pair with Fabian, who has excellent tools with plus power and great defense in center field, but always struck out more than you'd want to see in college. He hit for average, hit for power and got on base at a high clip in his debut.
32. Jordan Beck, OF, Rockies (GP): Beck is an interesting player and I had considered him with my previous pick. It was an uneven season for Beck. He flashed game-changing power at points but struggled to consistently make contact. The hit tool concerns are warranted but there's potentially enough power and on-base upside for it to click.
33. Mikey Romero, SS, Red Sox (DW): Romero combines a pure hit tool and a smooth swing. If power can get to average, he will ascend. And in professional debut, he showed above-average exit velocities for his age.
34. Justin Campbell, RHP, Guardians (BB): The Guardians keep churning out pitching prospects. Campbell is a strike-thrower with a chance for average to plus stuff across the board, and I think there could be a few extra ticks of velocity still in the tank.
35. Connor Prielipp, LHP, Twins (ME): The Alabama southpaw showed electric stuff—fastball up to 96 mph, wicked slider, good changeup—in his 28 total innings in the SEC. Prielipp's freshman season in 2020 was truncated by the pandemic, he had Tommy John surgery early in 2021 and he missed all of 2022. High upside but high variance.
36. Brock Jones, OF, Rays (CC): I thought about Peyton Graham here, but Jones has a similar power/speed tool set with more explosion in the power department and his stronger pro debut was the tie-breaker. I have some contact questions with Jones, but I like his on-base ability.
37. Tyler Locklear, 3B, Mariners (GP): Locklear was an easy choice for me here. I truly believe in his ability to hit and his plus raw power. He formed a real slugging tandem with Chase DeLauter in the middle of the Orleans Firebirds lineup over the summer of 2021. While he's likely to move off of third, the bat is legit and the power plays anywhere in the diamond.
38. Roman Anthony, OF, Red Sox (DW): Stayed pitcher-less in this draft. Anthony is raw, but in his brief professional debut he showed a knack for contact, suggesting he might get to it in games. Hoping to build off of that in 2023.
39. Ethan Salas, C, Padres (BB): Salas is probably more valuable in real life than fantasy. But he's also the rare catcher who has a chance to hit toward the top or middle of a lineup, with a polished lefthanded swing and approach for his age.
40. Xavier Isaac, 1B, Rays (ME): Isaac has power that ranked second only to Elijah Green in the 2022 prep class, but his lack of summer showcase pedigree is a concern. I wanted to take a big swing on power with this pick after playing the middle with my other hitter picks. I had targeted Tyler Locklear and Roman Anthony for this pick, but I just missed them.
1. Jackson Holliday, SS, Orioles
6. Elijah Green, OF, Nationals
11. Kevin Parada, C, Mets
16. Gavin Cross, OF, Royals
21. Brock Porter, RHP, Rangers
26. Sterlin Thompson, OF, Rockies
31. Jud Fabian, OF, Orioles
36. Brock Jones, OF, Rays
- Overall summary: The lack of impact pitching was notable in this draft, with just one pitcher selected among the first 19 picks. If you have a team that’s ready to compete now and needs pitching, it’s either Kodai Senga or bust in this draft. You don’t often have many plug and play pitching options in a FYPD, so using Senga as leverage if you don’t need pitching reinforcements seems like a winning strategy. This 2023 pitching class has a lot of injured college arms or high school players who are far away. Maybe stick with the bats even more than you normally would. The hitters with strong pro debuts are more exciting to me than most of the arms in the post-20 range.
- Favorite pick from my team: It doesn’t seem like a huge value based on our FYPD board, but I liked getting Sterlin Thompson at 26. I have high confidence in his hitting ability and his pro debut only reinforced that, with better exit velocities than I would have expected. There are a lot of outfielders in this range of the draft who might get muddled together, but Thompson is one I was excited to snag.
- Favorite pick from another team: Geoff got a ton of upside with Chase DeLauter at pick No. 12 and he was a player I seriously considered at No. 11, though my love of Kevin Parada deterred me. I figured DeLauter would not get to my next pick given how high Geoff has been on him, and he’s a unique hitter who combines an excellent track record of contact and swing decisions with explosive tools and physicality. At one point in the draft process, DeLauter was pushing into the top-five range—I can’t wait to see his pro debut.
- Too rich for me: I understand Ethan Salas is the top-ranked IFA prospect this year, but a catcher and international prospect who we just don’t have the most up-to-date information on yet feels like someone who doesn’t need to go among the top 40 picks. It’s among the riskiest demographics and he won’t impact your fantasy team for years. I would prefer to let the IFA players sort themselves out in affiliated ball first and instead take a chance on someone who could move the needle sooner—either for your team or in a trade.
- My next targets: I’d keep hunting up-the-middle/left-side-of-the-infield bats like Peyton Graham (who I seriously considered taking at No. 36), Cayden Wallace, Cade Doughty and Ryan Cermak. None of the pitchers on the board in this range really move the needle for me unless your farm system for arms is completely barren and you have a strong stockpile of young hitters you’re confident in.
2. Druw Jones, OF, D-backs
7. Cam Collier, 3B, Reds
12. Chase DeLauter, OF, Guardians
17. Drew Gilbert, OF, Astros
22. Cade Horton, RHP, Cubs
27. Dylan Beavers, OF, Orioles
32. Jordan Beck, OF, Rockies
37. Tyler Locklear, 3B, Mariners
- Overall summary: I really like this draft class for fantasy. Talented upside players at the top, a lot of potential impact college hitters and lots of pitching that falls into value pockets in the draft. The addition of the two plug-and-play Japanese professionals makes it even deeper. There’s a variety of pathways you can take with this class. I was fortunate enough to be able to double dip into the talented prep hitter pool with Druw Jones and Cam Collier before taking college hitters with five of the next six picks. I think this is a great example of the depth of this college hitting class. Players like Beavers and Beck had first round buzz, and Locklear was not only one of the best collegiate hitters in the country, he also performed in full-season ball post draft.
- Favorite pick from my team: Druw Jones or Cam Collier would be too easy. Personally, the DeLauter pick is my favorite. I feel very confident in the player based on first-hand experience and from talking to scouts who saw him over that summer. There’s real five category upside in fantasy (runs, HR, RBI, SB, BA/OBP).
- Favorite pick from another team: I was between Dylan’s pick of Roman Anthony at 38 or Carlos’ pick of Jud Fabian at 31. I’m going to go with Carlos’ pick and much of that decision boils down to my supreme confidence in the Orioles ability to develop this style of player. Despite his worrisome contact skills at Florida, he’s always managed the zone well with strong swing decisions and the ability to hit for power. I like this pick for many of the reasons I selected Dylan Beavers.
- Too rich for me: This has been the toughest of all the questions as I felt a majority of the picks were in the right spot. Personally it’s likely Ethan Salas. It just seems like a risky pick when there were a few more fantasy viable type of picks. That said, Ben does great reporting on international free agency. He likely knows something the rest of us don’t.
- My next targets: Daniel Susac, Peyton Graham and Cayden Wallace. I like all three of these college hitters despite some warts. Likely my next pick would have been Wallace. I really like the combination of power and feel to hit. He has a strong enough arm to stick at third base or move to a corner outfield spot, so there’s no defensive concerns. Graham has more upside than any of the trio but likely the widest range of outcomes. As for Susac, he has an excellent college track record with the bat. There’s some concern around the approach and I’m typically adverse to catching prospects in fantasy.
Prospect Report: Mets, Nationals, Rockies Prospects Shine On The Back Fields
Josh Norris and Geoff Pontes report on prospects in Arizona and Florida.
3. Kodai Senga, RHP, Mets
8. Masataka Yoshida, OF, Red Sox
13. Spencer Jones, OF, Yankees
18. Jace Jung, 2B, Tigers
23. Jacob Melton, OF, Astros
28. Jacob Berry, 3B, Marlins
33. Mikey Romero, SS, Red Sox
38. Roman Anthony, OF, Red Sox
- Overall summary: I approached this draft with a ‘win now’ approach, taking Senga and the divisive Yoshida. I tend to eschew pitching in FYPD drafts—leaning toward hitters wherever possible—and I stuck to that, finishing my draft with no arms.
- Favorite pick from my team: I like the Yoshida pick as a baseball fan. The discrepancy between the evaluators highest on him and those lowest is a gaping chasm, and seeing how it plays out—and how it impacts the future contracts of Murakami and other Japanese players—will be absolutely fascinating.
- Favorite pick from another team: Although I mentioned that I tend to avoid pitching—especially prep pitching—I had immediate remorse when I saw Matt take Dylan Lesko two picks after my Jace Jung selection. The ceiling on Lesko could make that selection look great in a few years.
- Too rich for me: It’s probably—yes, my own selection!—Jace Jung. I am pretty confident that he’ll be successful in his career, but the fantasy output may not be outstanding.
- My next targets: Before I picked Roman Anthony, I definitely went back and forth over possibly dipping into the January 15 market with Brando Mayea (over Ethan Salas, who I think will require a little more time). I like to take a high variance gamble with my last pick and Mayea was my (second) favorite option.
4. Termarr Johnson, 2B, Pirates
9. Zach Neto, SS, Angels
14. Justin Crawford, OF, Phillies
19. Cole Young, SS, Mariners
24. Brandon Barriera, LHP, Blue Jays
29. Noah Schultz, LHP, White Sox
34. Justin Campbell, RHP, Guardians
39. Ethan Salas, C, Padres
- Overall summary: There is a group of hitters that were priority players for me and they went off the board within the first 20 picks, as expected. I’m enamored with Termarr Johnson’s offensive ability (and I think his defense is a little underrated—his hands and baseball IQ are excellent), so I love his upside as a potential impact hitter in the middle infield, though I’m certainly not alone in that camp. Justin Crawford and Cole Young are two premium position players I think are undervalued on our FYPD rankings. With the priority hitters off the table and more risky bats still left on the board, I transitioned to pitching, including one of my favorite 2022 draft arms in Noah Schultz.
- Favorite pick from my team: I would rather have Cole Young than fellow 2022 prep shortstop draft pick Jett Williams, and I’m able to get Young nine picks later. He’s a talented hitter with a clean, compact swing with good path through the hitting zone and an innate feel for barreling the ball all over the park.
- Favorite pick from another team: Geoff got one of my favorite players with his second pick at No. 7 overall in Cam Collier. It’s an easy, low-effort swing from the left side with good plate coverage. There’s big power potential there too, but he doesn’t have to sell out for that power either, staying calm and balanced in the box with offensive maturity well beyond his years. He continues to remind me of Rafael Devers when he was that age.
- Too rich for me: Jett Williams is a nice player, but at No. 10 overall, I just don’t see a top 10 pick given the other players available.
- My next targets: If I’m looking for pitching, I’m a fan of righthanders Walter Ford and J.R. Ritchie. If you want to tolerate some more risk with international signings, outfielder Brando Mayea and catcher Alfredo Duno are two players to watch.
5. Brooks Lee, SS, Twins
10. Jett Williams, SS, Mets
15. Dalton Rushing, C, Dodgers
20. Dylan Lesko, RHP, Padres
25. Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Cardinals
30. Eric Brown Jr., SS, Brewers
35. Connor Prielipp, LHP, Twins
40. Xavier Isaac, 1B, Rays
- Overall summary: Drafting fifth in each round excluded me from “winning” this draft, so I focused on hitters who project to contribute in average and on-base percentage—with some power upside to reach—and who can claim top-of-the-lineup spots. I took some shots at pitchers that may prove to be ill-advised, but lefthanders are a weakness and I couldn’t resist Cooper Hjerpe at No. 25 and Connor Prielipp at No. 35. If given a do-over, I might take Sterlin Thompson rather than Hjerpe at 25 or either Tyler Locklear or Roman Anthony rather than Prielipp at 35.
- Favorite pick from my team: I liked Dalton Rushing at 15th overall and Dylan Lesko at 20th. Both have the potential to outperform draft position, though the usual caveats regarding catchers and pitchers in fantasy formats apply.
- Favorite pick from another team: I considered Cam Collier at No. 5 overall, so I like the value Geoff got on Collier with the seventh overall pick. I really liked Ben’s pick of Noah Schultz at 29th overall.
- Too rich for me: I didn’t see any true misfires. I might have had Justin Crawford (14th overall) and Jace Jung (18th) slightly lower on my board.
- My next targets: Among position players, I was also looking at Royals 3B Cayden Wallace and Tigers SS Peyton Graham. Among pitchers, I liked RHPs Landon Sims of the D-backs, Jacob Misiorowski of the Brewers and Blade Tidwell of the Mets, and also Giants LHP Carson Whisenhunt. I am also intrigued to see what the Braves can do with athletic prep RHP Owen Murphy.